In a regular week I walk into a music venue two, three, sometimes even four nights a week. It’s my safe haven, it’s my real home, it’s where I go to escape what has been bringing me down or celebrate what has made me happy. I walk in, I rarely get searched for weapons or even get a second look, and I let go of life for an hour or two. To me, music has always been a safe place. Growing up, the scariest part of driving to L.A. to see a show at The Roxy was the walk back to the car. It was stepping back into the world that I had to fear on the regular.
As of last night, and even everything that happen in France not to long ago, that all changed. A young, 22 year old woman chasing after her dream, and a room full of her fans that stepped into her world for a few hours to lose themselves — came under fire by a man who walked into the venue with two guns and a hunting knife. A man, who managed to secure these guns and drove hours to Orlando, with the intention of hurting someone. Maybe many people. A man, who here in the south can easily walk into one of the many music venues I frequent and do the very same thing. Without anyone so much as blinking an eye.
I get it. You have your second amendment right. You want it, desperately. You want the right to protect yourself. I get that. You should have that right. You know who shouldn’t? People that are mentally unstable. People that have anger management issues. People who have threatened others on the internet. How do we know who these people are? That’s what we need to figure out. That is a conversation that NEEDS to happen. Protecting innocents like myself and the artists that I work with on a daily basis is NOT a violation of anyone’s rights.
You know what I want? To be able to walk into a venue and feel safe again. I don’t want to have to worry about the fact that I didn’t get patted down or walk through a metal detector or have my bag searched. I want to go back to the days when the worst that happen was a brawl broke out in the pit or some idiot was drunk and unruly. I never want to worry that some lowlife redneck that thinks he’s above the judgement of God believes he can open fire because he was threatened in some minuscule, emasculating way. I want there to be a damn conversation about what we can do to stop these things from happening.
And guess what. For me, learning how to shoot and carry a gun is never going to give me that back. I’m not here to insight discussion or debate. I’m not here to tell you I’m right or you’re wrong. I’m here to say that I’m disgusted and scared and angry that we have become a country where this is happening daily and nobody who matters wants to do anything about it.
I’m here because last night I walked into a stadium of 70,000 people and had the time of my life and tomorrow I’ll be looking behind my back hoping no one is going to open fire. And I hate that.
Please consider donating to the family of Christina Grimmie, the young artist that lost her life signing autographs for her fans last night, because some monster decided she didn’t deserve the right to live.